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Coliseum Night Club gets P & Z approval

By Staff | Jul 7, 2010

The site of a former downtown nightclub is one step closer to re-opening with new owners and a new vision.
A special exception to operate the “Coliseum Night Club,” a dance club with a Roman column motif, was unanimously approved by the Cape Coral Planning & Zoning Board on Wednesday.
The club previously was approved by the Community Redevelopment Agency board in June.
The club had to comply with a long list of conditions from city staff and police to re-open due, in part, to the location’s history, which included violence and drug use, when it was known as the Bamboo Club.
The club has a new owner, Doris Emrich, the wife of former owner Michael Emrich.
The family connections and past problems worried business owners near the club who have said they feared a repeat of the type of incidents that brought police to and around the former establishment.
Captain Lisa Barnes, Cape Coral Police Department, said there were 86 arrests in the area between February and October of 2007.
She said those arrests included drugs, fights, and issues with firearms, among other violations, that severely “tapped the department’s resources.”
But she also said Emrich was working hard to comply with all of the conditions, and so far the police department has approved of the steps she and her management team have taken to ensure a safe, and successful, environment.
“They’ve taken our recommendations and are working with us,” Barnes said. “They don’t want to fail. They’re fighting hard to avoid that history.”
Emrich and crew plan to invest $250,000 in the location, on interior, exterior, and security upgrades.
Speaking on behalf of Emrich, Joe Mazurkiewicz of BJM Consulting said they understood the history of the site, and were eager to comply with all the recommendations from city staff, police, and the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Mazurkiewicz said the club wants to add to downtown Cape Coral, not be a detractor.
“We’re getting ready to invest a quarter of a million,” Mazurkiewicz said. “We want to attract a crowd that is going to enhance that investment.”
P & Z commission member Patti Martin said she didn’t feel the Roman column motif fit with what she considered her vision of downtown Cape Coral, though she did ultimately did vote to approve the special exception.
Commissioner Walter Fluegel said the planned motif was closer to the Dover Cole Plan for the CRA, and anything that brought bodies to the area was a welcome addition, especially since all the conditions were met by the applicant.
“We need to be more pro-business in the CRA,” Fluegel said. “We need to get something going down there.”
The special exception must now be approved by city council before the club can open.
It’s unknown at this time when the item will go before city council for discussion, and then a vote.